How to Navigate the World During Turbulent Times

In today’s episode, we'll unravel the art of navigating the world during challenging times.

When fear runs rampant and communities crave love and support, it's easy to feel overwhelmed.

In the past, I know I’ve been frozen with uncertainty of how to respond during heavy events like mass shootings, pandemics, and wars.

So I'll draw from personal experiences and my mindfulness studies to guide you through how to transmute darkness into light.

By the end of this blog post, you’ll have an action plan on how to manage the big emotions to keep shining your radiance to uplift the world around you amidst difficult times.

Let’s jump on in.


My own personal practice to keep my nervous system regulated

How to Regulate Your Nervous System

Back in the day, big emotions used to make me uncomfortable.

Not necessarily because I was afraid of the big emotion.

But more because I didn’t know how to really help someone feel better.

I wanted to say the right thing and do something that would be useful.

I wanted the person to have a breakthrough, shift the emotion and have me be the emotionally intelligent hero that made everything better.

Now I can clearly see that it stemmed from the ego, and often I didn’t know what the magical phrase was to shift the emotions, so I got uncomfortable and froze.

Now after going through my own dark night of the soul and embarking on my own healing journey learning under different spiritual mentors, I understand the concept of holding space and allowing ourselves to feel all the emotions.

Present me can now see that past me was putting so much pressure on myself to be some profound spiritual wizard to do and say the right thing instead of simply holding and creating space for the emotion to exist.

In order to do this, there’s a very important perspective to recognize first.

It’s the idea that every single human on this earth is operating out of their own personal experiences.

Every single human grew up in a certain environment, learning certain habits, coping mechanisms, perspectives, and thought processes.

When we can realize that we are all a product of different environments that operate from our learned experiences, then we can start to get more curious about how people experience their lives, what thoughts they have in their heads and why they do the things they do.

That’s what makes this world unique: the plethora of vibrant cultures, languages, traditions, and perspectives.

Local Mayan Guatamalan friends dressing me in their traditional clothes

How to Connect on a Deeper Level

I spent a long time trying to prove to people that my opinion was right.

When it came to politics, I used to battle people who had differing beliefs sometimes even with emotional pleas of “how could you possibly believe that?” with me ending up frustrated and angry.

I specifically remember going on a date with a guy who had completely different views than me.

And the conversation ended the same way that it usually would - with tears in my eyes and me never wanting to see that guy again.

It struck me that I couldn’t keep having these conversations that left me feeling more distraught.

I got curious about how to actually navigate these big conversations, perspectives and emotions because I realized picking up the boxing gloves and going into the ring to battle it out divided the perspectives further.

I felt more disconnected to people instead of truly understanding where they were coming from. I wasn’t saving the world with my perspective, but instead confirming the other person’s perspective even more with my emotional outbursts.

After living with a mental health therapist for 9 months during the pandemic, I learned the idea of holding space.

With Justine Watson, the mental health therapist I lived with for 9 months, at a Balinese Traditional ceremony

Instead of going into a conversation guns a blazing, I wanted to try a different approach.

If shouting my opinion at someone is divisive, what would be connective?

Recognizing that I’m coming from my own operating system of what my family and environment taught me growing up, I learned that it would be important to understand why the person thinks what they think.

To give them space to share their own experience and get to the root of their belief and feeling.

There are 3 magic words that can connect you to a person instead of creating an even greater divide.

And in my experience these words along with a calming centered peaceful approach can create the biggest impact.

The 3 words are “tell me more.”

I first tried out this new approach with these 3 words at a bar in Bali, Indonesia.

On this particular night, I was with a friend and we went to this bar to support the owner’s grand opening.

I somehow found myself sitting next to a man many years older than me who had a bunch of drinks and after he found out I was American decided to jump into politics with me and was getting emotionally charged about certain political parties, leaders and war and was having an emotional outburst raising his voice at me when I hadn’t said anything about this to begin with.

I could feel myself getting riled up about to pick up the boxing gloves and fight back, but I knew deep in my soul that that would only make matters worse.

This man was feisty and angry, and I knew any fighting back would cause a scene.

So I remembered holding space. I took a big breath in to center myself and in a calm and compassionate voice, I said “wow it seems like you have some really strong stances. Tell me more.”

This opened a door. Instead of his guard going up, I heard a glimmer in his voice finally excited to be heard and understood.

He ended up telling me about his family and how they had to go to war and because the US never supported his country, a lot of his family died.

I consoled him and told him how horrible it must feel to have lost his family.

Instead of fighting, he started tearing up and laid his head on my shoulder as I comforted him.

What would’ve normally ended with a fight turned into a hug and a very connected moment.

We understood each other.

Regulating the nervous system through yoga and meditation

This moment was pivotal and laid the framework in how I would not only handle conversations like this, but how I would navigate the world when it all seems to be swirling down into a negative pit of despair.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have opinions, yet now I zoom out and try to come from the most loving, compassionate state that I can.

Fighting hate with hate does not equal love.

Holding space for understanding both sides actually creates conversations where all parties can be heard.

From this more compassionate space, ideas to create even more connectivity are generated.

When events in the world break out like war and pandemics, it can feel like we’re being swallowed whole with fear, guilt, shame, uncertainty, and anger.

When we’re swallowed whole, it’s extremely difficult to show up and create change.

When I was traveling in Guatemala while the country was having political unrest with protests and blockades, I went to a community meeting where one woman said “the most important thing you can do is make sure you’re pouring from a full cup and checking in on your local community.

Make sure the people around you are okay and that will create a ripple effect.

That really resonated with me because often we look at the big picture and get utterly overwhelmed thinking that our words and actions won’t make a difference.

They’ll just be a tiny drop in the ocean….but if you can focus on yourself and your immediate community to make sure they’re safe, then you’re not focusing on the whole ocean, you’re creating a big ripple in your own smaller pond.

Bogging ourselves with news and having conversations where we are constantly fighting is exhausting.

Instead, how can you focus your energy on being your best self so you can radiantly shine your light into the world?

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Neuro Nugget - The Role of Oxytocin

In today's Neuro Nugget, let's dive into the hormone oxytocin.

According to a scientific study by Sue Carter in the Pharmacological Reviews, oxytocin is not your ordinary hormone; it's a neurochemical powerhouse that causes various impacts on our general health, adaptation, development, reproduction, and social behavior.

So, what exactly is oxytocin?

Research suggests it actively supports patterns of growth, resilience, and healing in the body and mind.

Oxytocin operates as an anti-inflammatory, and an antioxidant, and helps us cope with stress in the face of adversity or trauma.

So, when does oxytocin do its thang?  

It's released during various interactive behaviors.

Think of moments of connection, like during labor, breastfeeding, sexual activity, or even a simple touch or warm embrace.

Oxytocin isn't reserved for just maternal bonds; it's released during positive interactions between adults, between humans and animals, and even in response to food intake.

This release during sensory stimulation contributes significantly to our everyday well-being and our ability to handle stress.

Why is this important in the context of today's discussion on navigating challenging times?

Choosing compassion and connection instead of divisive anger and arguments can stimulate oxytocin release, not only contributing to our happiness and lower anxiety levels but also enabling us to pour from a more full cup, allowing us to create a positive ripple effect in the world around us.

Brain Hack of the Day - Choose Connection

Welcome to the Brain Hack of the Day segment, where we explore practical strategies to feel better in your everyday life.

Today's brain hack is all about consciously choosing connection.

During times when you’re feeling divided from others and the world feels turbulent and challenging, making a conscious decision to connect with others can be a powerful act of kindness, not only for them but for your own well-being.

Showing up in a loving energy, being open, and genuinely wanting to learn more about someone and their beliefs may not necessarily make a huge dent in the external situation in the world, however, it will immensely help how you feel internally which shifts how you show up in the external world.

So, your brain hack for today is to consciously choose connection.

Approach conversations with an open heart, use the magic phrase "tell me more," and witness the positive impact it can have on your relationships and the world around you.

Whether it’s a stranger you encounter on the street, reaching out to a friend, or inviting open dialogue on your social media, make a conscious effort to show up with more compassion, understanding and kindness and watch your connections blossom.

Remember, it's not about changing someone's mind; it's about creating a space for understanding and connection.

If you’re needing a little more guidance in shifting into a positive state, gratitude is a great tool to elevate your energy and feel more connected in your life.

I have a FREE attitude of gratitude masterclass for all of my listeners which dives deep into why gratitude is so potent, a 5-minute technique to raise your vibration, and the mistake people often make when practicing gratitude.

So if you’re wanting to shift your energy, click the link in the description to sign up for the free attitude of gratitude masterclass.

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Do you feel like your negative thoughts are controlling your life? 

Are you ready to finally find peace and joy in your life?

Learn the fundamental tools to change your neural pathways to live a more joyous, liberating and satisfying life in a group cohort that will hold you accountable toward your goals.

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Fulfillment Fast Track - Blog Summary

Let’s sum up this blogpost with bite-sized steps for you to take everything we’ve learned and discussed here into the world when you’re very overwhelmed and challenged by external circumstances:

Local Impact: When everything feels overwhelming, start by focusing on your own local community and how you can support them. You can create a ripple by supporting those closest to you.

Three Little Words: Utilize the powerful phrase "tell me more" to connect with others on a deeper level when you encounter people with different opinions and perspectives.

Embrace empathy and curiosity, creating meaningful conversations that bridge gaps and cultivates unity.

Unique Conditioning and Experiences: Recognize that each person operates from their own set of conditioning and experiences.

By understanding the diverse backgrounds that shape individuals, you can put down the boxing gloves and connect more releasing more oxytocin to decrease stress and increase feelings of belonging and community.

Self-Fulfillment for Global Impact: Prioritize self-care and personal growth to fill up your own cup first.

By you radiating positivity and fulfillment, you decrease the fear and anxiety in your own internal world which has an impact on the external world.

Next Steps to Keep Rewiring Your Brain

Thank you so much for reading all about how to navigate the world during turbulent times.

You can catch the audio version of this blog post on any streaming platform under the Podcast Radically Rewired or the video version on YouTube here.

To continue this beautiful journey of exploration and self discovery with me, hit that subscribe button and sign up for my newsletter to get notified about my newest blog posts and brain hacking tips.

I’m sooo grateful that you’re here taking another step toward living a life that feels extraordinary.

Radically Rewired is all about changing your mindset to get off autopilot and soar toward your dreams.

Let's continue this transformative journey together, my friends.

Until next time, keep rewiring, keep thriving, and keep shining.

All the love,


Hi! I'm Nicole. A brain hacking mentor on a mission to help you optimize your mindset to achieve your goals and live a fulfilling and joyous life.

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